Sports merge culture, creativity at Emerson

by Beacon Staff • October 31, 2007

The Red Sox and all Boston sports.

Our View:

Sports Enrich our cultural and artistic consciousness.,This past Sunday, they did it again.

The Boston Red Sox won their second World Series in the last four years. Tuesday marked V-Sox Day, with a caravan of Duck Boats carrying Red Sox players, coaches and organizational staff through Boston to the applause of endless droves of fans. The route brought the victors right through Emerson's front yard, on Boylston Street.

The parade of triumphant players and fans created a logistical swamp in front of Emerson, but the administration opted not to cancel classes, which would have been problematic with midterms in full swing.

Many professors, whether out of hometown pride or agoraphobia, decided to cancel classes of their own accord.

The trampled mess of confetti, still caked on our pavement, gives the college an opportunity to reassess its complicated relationship with sports.

Emerson, of course, has never been the most sports-oriented of colleges. Most Emersonians are largely ambivalent towards sporting events of any kind-some so much so that Sunday night's game (and the city-wide screaming in the streets) barely registered as more than a curious annoyance.

There may never be a day when all of Emerson can get together to enjoy a three-hour-long baseball game. But the continued ignorance of sports as a whole is no longer justifiable.

From a vocational standpoint, it is crucial that students come to acknowledge sports-especially baseball-as intrinsic not only to American culture, but to the fabric of pop culture. If we're going to be producing art and entertainment for an American audience, athletics are an essential to our societal consciousness.

The clutch of braying college-age fans clogging T trains on Tuesday, clad head-to-toe in Red Sox gear, have polluted the popular vision of sports fans. Professional sports amount to more than the sum or their parts (and fans); at their best, they are a microcosm of American community, human emotion and the value of collective effort and triumph.

These kinds of values are too often lost in the rabidly commercial environment of MLB/NFL/NCAA fever. Especially at this time of year, jerseys bearing names of local sports figures like Ortiz and Brady are wandering all over the city.

At Emerson, where the latest indie bands come and go in a matter of minutes, sports mega-teams don't stand a chance. Surely something so popular can't have any value, can it?

Most Emerson students are headed for jobs in the media marketplace, where their success will hinge on making an emotional connection with audiences. Emersonians create, through film, television, theatre, literature and even marketing, emotional reactions for their audiences. Emotionalism is the stock in trade for sports. Fans and non-fans alike need to realize that millions of people pin their hopes and fears to the next week's Monday Night Football lineup.

Any event that can evoke the kind of emotional response that sports does-with its stadiums full of screaming fans-begs to be explored by the growing artist.

With Emerson's brand-new Piano Row gymnasium and the 2005 renovation of the college's Rotch Field, athletics are more and more a part of our everyday lives, and increased recruitment for Emerson athletes will, inevitably, bridge the perceived gap between artist and athlete.

This isn't to say that an Emerson education should be applied to create a sequel for Rudy. But as millions of fans will already attest, touching people on a human level is not the exclusive province of art.